Posts Tagged ‘landlord’

I been struggling to think of some witty post for this blog. To post some upbeat story that gives a glimmer of hope for this awful market which threatens to stretch on for years and bankrupt a lot of people. Then it hit me, I’ve got tons of material to write about. Just none of it is very fun.

I really hate it when people don’t return phone calls. When a rent check doesn’t show up in the mail, I call. And I get really irritated when I have to call again and again, leaving voicemail that is never returned.

Ok, so what to do? Well the next step is to figure out how to evict a tenant that doesn’t pay rent and doesn’t return phone calls seeking an explanation. With the internet, it was really pretty easy to find out. In Florida, before you can begin an eviction you have to serve a 3 day notice to pay up or to cede possession of the property. There are numerous downloadable pdfs on the web you can use. I used this one from a CSEU course.

Pay attention to the fine print, it’s only 3 days if you hand deliver the notice and the tenant can pay the rent at a physical address. The 3 day notice starts when the notice reaches the tenant, and you may need to allow for snail mail time for the rent to reach you. And you can not count weekend days and holidays. So in the end the time period ended up being 2 1/2 weeks. If you mail the notice you need to use certified mail w/ return receipt requested. Make sure to make three copies of the notice for use in the next step (the actual start of the eviction) if the 3 day notice expires without payment or possession delivered to you. You might want to read this article about how you can get tripped up by the details by a tenant lawyer.

Before the notice period was up, I received the rent in the mail along with an explanation. I am sympathetic to my tenants plight as one of them is really sick, but my mortgage company is not sympathetic at all.

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One of the key mistakes I have made in my real estate career is not accounting for vacancy in my cash flow projections. And vacancy will kill you, I’ve had 3 month vacancies that turned a cash flow positive property into a decidedly cash flow negative property.

Consider two landlords. Both need to find new renters. The first has a very desirable property in a great part of town, very close to transport and shops. The house has very nice woodwork details. Although the current tenant hasn’t moved out yet, the landlord lists on craigslist. He gets a lot of calls and sets up several appointments throughout the week. While the charm of the house is clearly apparent, the clutter of the tenant’s belongings detracts from the showings. Additionally, because there was so much interest, he raises the asking rent on the rental application $45 dollars higher than what was listed in the craigslist ad.  The rent was already on the high side for the square footage. The rental application has a page missing. He gets a few applications and then starts working on them, making several calls to get more information on the applicants, delaying the decision process.

A week later, landlord 2 lists his house. It is in also a good location but not as convenient and desirable. He lists it at an asking rent that is under market and has a showing of only one hour. The house is vacant and spotless. He clearly states in the ad that the applicants are to bring their own credit report and application. Many people show up during the showing. It is clearly a good deal and many turn in their application, even though the lease start date is in less than 2 weeks and not negotiable.  Landlord 2 makes a decision with 48 hours and has a tenant,  the same tenant that Landlord 1 finally decides on.   The tenant decides to go with Landlord 2 even though double rent is involved and wipes out any savings for six months.

Moral of the story,  if you want a tenant fast, list under market and have your act together.   Renting it quickly for less is usually better than 1 or 2 months of vacancy.  Ability to expedite the process helps too.

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